Tuesday, June 29, 2010

#IBM Pioneering Pinky-Ring Sized Cell Phone Technology

IBM Microelectronics is pioneering "tunable MEMS" for the ultra-small cell phones of the future, by downsing the radio to a single chip in deal with WiSpry. Look for smaller, cheaper lower power cell phones as result of the IBM/WiSpry alliance by Christmas. R.C.J.

The dream of a MEMS system-on-a-chip RF front-end for wireless mobile handsets is being realized by the collaborative efforts of startup WiSpry and IBM Microelectronics. Fabless MEMS chip company WiSpry Inc. (Irvine, Calif.) has inked a joint development deal with IBM Microelectronics under which IBM will manufacture its single-chip tunable radio frequency (RF) front-ends for mobile handsets, which WiSpry will market to tier-one original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The first of these customers is due to be before the end of 2010. The key to WiSpry's competitive advantage is its tunable impedance matching MEMS technology that uses arrays of switchable capacitive devices that can be quickly switched in and out to quickly provide over 3-dB of link resilience by adapting to changes in frequency, antenna conditions (such as being touched by the user) and other ongoing operational conditions, thereby preventing dropped calls and improving realtime performance — more "bars" on the cell phone display. Today's 3G multi-mode, multi-band mobile wireless devices and tomorrow's 4G LTE terminals and infrastructure equipment both require dozens of internal RF front-end components, only a few of which are used for any one time. By going to a single tunable RF front-end, many of these redundant components can be eliminated, enabling a drastically smaller form factor as well as reducing the bill-of-materials for devices.
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